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Five simple steps to keep your small business secure in the new year

Work through our five-minute checklist to ensure your digital assets stay safe for the next twelve months

Woman looking an at excel document on a desk monitor

Turning the page on your calendar to a new year is a good time to make sure your company's digital defences are prepared for the months ahead. As your operation grows and expands its technology footprint, the greater the need becomes for rigorous security practices. This may sound daunting, but it needn't be. Here's a quick checklist of vital security tasks that can help you ensure your company's valuable digital assets remain safe and secure over the next year.

Make backups a top priority

Backups are the best way to protect yourself from potential data loss due to both technical foul-ups and malicious hackers. You might think you've got backups covered simply because you have your own server, but that's not necessarily the case. There's a good chance you'll need to set up a dedicated backup system. Plenty of cloud-based business tools – such as Microsoft 365 – come with built-in backup systems, but when it comes to local files you'll need either an off-the-shelf or custom built backup solution installed by a security professional.

Educate your staff

Employees untrained in safe online practices can be a major security problem, potentially falling for phishing scams or using non-company technology to store and share sensitive assets. Think about setting up quarterly or biannual security training sessions to make sure they're up to date on how to operate safely online and informed about the latest types of data breaches that they might unwittingly trigger.

Invest in antivirus software

This is one of the simplest and most overlooked ways small businesses can protect themselves. Good antivirus packages don't cost much, are easy to deploy across your entire operation, and they do a great job scrubbing emails and blocking potentially harmful files from infiltrating company computers. Some key features to look for: Safety ratings for websites so that employees can make wise decisions, 24/7 support so to reduce downtime in the event of an attack, and remote device management that lets you lock or wipe lost or stolen devices.

Keep your servers patched and up-to-date

Out-of-date software can leave your company exposed to a variety of security vulnerabilities. A reputable and experienced security service provider can help you monitor and manage server logs, deal with patches and updates, and keep your network shipshape and properly defended.

Create a security best practices policy for your company

Creating and maintaining a list of established practices to follow when acquiring new hardware and software, storing and sharing files, setting up accounts and authentication, and training staff will help keep your company secure now and into the future. You may want to enlist the help of a professional to ensure robust policies.